February 2017

Client Update

RPM Group Ltd. is pleased to announce a new advisory client and startup firm LingoFit, a division of parent company TeleLingo. LingoFit is a new B2B technology company ( that has developed an innovative and proprietary IP software that utilizes both Machine Vision and Artificial Intelligence to power a driver co-pilot safety system. The newly engineered IP and device will protect all driver demographics from distracted, unsafe, as well as drowsy driving through interacting and alerting the driver to both in-car and on-road situations in real time.

Distracted and drowsy driving are two leading causes of fatal accidents in the United States. Distracted driving, in particular, has increased over 14% since 2014, due in part to the rise of driver texting and smartphone-based GPS use; causing over 1.5M of 6M total car accidents to occur in the U.S. CNN just recently highlighted drowsy driving as a nationwide and under reported problem in an article, please click here.

These types of accidents are entirely preventable, and the market opportunity for a comprehensive solution is a large one for LingoFit. Over $46B in yearly costs for insurance claims are associated with distracted driving for individuals and over $96B in equivalent expenses to Fleet Management firms with professional drivers, plus the financial costs of loss of human life, personal injuries and service disruptions.

The company’s patent-pending technology has an enormous TAM (total available market) size with multiple industry adoption points, including $4B in the Fleet Management industry, $1B in Ride Sharing Services and $8B in Insurance. LingoFit is also well positioned for two additional future market segments: Artificial Intelligence connected vehicles and the licensing of driver monitoring / management systems by self-driving and autonomous vehicle manufactures; projected to be 40M vehicles by 2030.

As a total driver safety solution, LingoFit uses proprietary algorithms tied to smart, multi-band internal and external cameras to observe both in-car driver attention and evaluate external on-road risks. LingoFit directly monitors driver’s spatial awareness, eye position, and responsiveness, while also assessing and evaluating risks like traffic, speed, driving conditions, passenger movement and road dangers. By detecting and alerting to pilot drowsiness, fatigue, as well as the in-car passenger or on-road distractions, the technology generates both audio and voice alerts to prevent dangerous driving.

The company’s mission is to improve driving safety across all demographics and classes of drivers, thereby providing a reduction in escalating distracted driver mortality rates. LingoFit’s core technology and business also provide for driver data profiling, which will significantly lower operational business costs for the largest global fleet owners (commercial vehicles, trucking companies, rental car firms and popular ride-sharing operators) and drastically reduce claims for U.S. and European insurance firms.

LingoFit has received multiple early awards, very positive industry feedback and has early meeting traction with top tier Fleet Management firms, Insurers, Industry suppliers and OEM manufacturers. Additionally, the startups IP patent is awaiting approval from its USPTO application submission.

The two Founders have personally invested $400K to date and are now seeking their first investment round. This capital will be utilized to offset finalizing the prototype for market-ready status for fleet testing and adoption. Exit strategies include acquisition by an OEM auto manufacturer, Industry supplier or Insurance company.

Co-Founders, Dr. Maggie Stys (CEO) and Dr. Eng. Roberto Sicconi (CTO), come from IBM – Watson Research and hold extensive engineering and product development career experience within the technology sector. Both share a vision of disruptive and product-focused technologies that address global markets. Backed by an Advisory Board and a team of experts in Machine Vision, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Speech, Natural Language Processing and industrial product design, the Founders are uniquely positioned to build out, rapidly scale and fully commercialize the LingoFit solution.

View LingoFit’s “How it Works” video, please click here.

If you would like more information on LingoFit, their initial investment round, IP technology, or their impressive team bios, please contact me directly at


December 2017

Client Update

RPM Group Limited is pleased to announce new advisory client REVOLVE – (, REVOLVE is truly reinventing the automotive experience through its proprietary technology platform powering a new luxury vehicle subscription service – one that provides access to a wide variety of the most sought-after new vehicles on the market today.

REVOLVE’s subscription-based membership model offers drivers access to a continuous rotation of high-end vehicles on flexible 2 to 4 month increments, without the hassles, burdens and long-term commitments of owning or leasing. With this new, innovative third option to buying or leasing a brand-new vehicle, enthusiast consumers can now satisfy their desire to drive the very latest available models and across all manufacturers, by experiencing the untethered freedom of driving numerous premium luxury vehicles on an on-demand basis.

Founded in 2016 by two senior corporate executives, the management team brings 50+ years of combined business experience with direct expertise in marketing, sales, product development, operations, and technology innovation. REVOLVE has currently raised close to $1 million from its Founders and early investors.

REVOLVE addresses a massive market opportunity, with the potential to revolutionize the way consumers access new cars in the $1 trillion automotive market – and particularly the $175 billion annual car leasing segment. The Company has procured an initial vehicle fleet through a relationship with AutoNation, the country’s largest dealer group, and also secured a $1 million group fleet insurance policy from a sharing economy insurer and underwriter.

A pilot program was launched in South Florida in June 2017 after a year of investment in R&D and testing, and in September 2017 REVOLVE released the first version of its mobile app and matching algorithm platform. The pilot program shows strong initial market success and is currently generating compelling monthly and recurring revenue.

Mr. Robert P. Minnick, CEO & Founder at RPM Group Ltd. stated, “Given REVOLVE’s truly innovative and disruptive business model, especially to consumers desiring to drive the latest models, coupled with the team’s experience and growth opportunities, we are delighted to work with the REVOLVE team on their promising future.”

REVOLVE’s introduction of a completely new subscription-based business model to the auto industry has also been validated by the recent entry of both Cadillac and Porsche with their own vehicle subscription offerings, although they are each limited to their brands (BOOK by Cadillac and Porsche Passport). REVOLVE is currently raising additional capital to procure more vehicles; buildout operations; increase marketing; and further develop the technology platform and app to match members and cars, manage vehicle inventory and optimize profitability.

The current industry trend of strong business valuations of technology-enabled sharing economy companies can only accelerate REVOLVE’s growth and IPO potential, and the future sale of the business is another exit strategy option (with OEMs, rental car companies, and private equity as natural possible acquirers).

If you would like more details on REVOLVE, their current capital raise or team, please contact me directly at

RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management, M&A advisory and capital introduction services to the industry.

Kind regards,

October 2017

Client Update

RPM Group Limited is pleased to announce new advisory client DF Media, a unique digital media company operating nearly exclusively within the car enthusiast and auto focused vertical. DF Media is a New York Based B2B startup and fully integrated media company, one experienced in creating authentic and high quality car-centric video content. The company provides automotive industry and online car enthusiast vertical clients with an all-inclusive and cost-effective solution for creating, developing, producing and distributing leading video based media.

The management team is comprised of veteran and experienced media executives who also happen to be lifelong and passionate car enthusiasts. The firm has a compelling three tiered business model across: commercial production services, original content and custom programming. Additionally, the firm is launching a new, proprietary B2C online video platform and portal channel targeting devoted and knowledgeable car enthusiasts.

DF Media combines digital film production services with creative conceptual program development to create authentic, high quality automotive video content for programming network partners (both broadcast and broadband) as well as corporate, agency and online media industry clients. The firm is currently seeking business expansion and growth capital to help reach an ever growing enthusiast audience through a proprietary new online video platform called

Mr. Robert P. Minnick, CEO & Founder at RPM Group Ltd. stated, “Given the team’s past experience, current high caliber brand clients in the pipeline and the growth of car enthusiast focused video, we are excited about DF Media’s future.”

In order to help their clients actively engage with enthusiasts from around the world, the firm focuses on bringing real life stories about passionate enthusiasts and collectors, and their cars, to life. By leveraging their new platform, DF Media provides brands, agencies and networks with more efficient and effective ways to engage and target one of the most desirable and in demand consumer demographics right now – car enthusiasts. Most notably, the firm provides amazing work through the experienced eyes of real car guys, a key industry differentiator.

“We are pleased to have Robert and RPM Group Ltd. help us launch both DF Media and Our focus is always to produce the most tactile, authentic and visually compelling car enthusiast video content for corporate clients and in also creating what we believe will be an industry leading enthusiast destination portal.” said Mr. Alexander Davidis, DF Media’s CEO & Executive Producer.

According to Cisco, by 2019, more than 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video. A powerful metric perhaps best understood by car enthusiasts and car collectors pursuing their passion for cars online through all devices. Audience attention time is perhaps becoming the most valuable online currency and the hard core car enthusiasts at DF Media are well positioned to become a leading brand for any car-centric video content production need.

If you would like more details on DF Media’s launch, their new platform or their current seed round and management team, please contact me directly at .

RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for startup business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management and M&A advisory services to the industry.

Kind regards,

September 2017

Client Update

RPM Group Limited is pleased to announce PitFund, a new advisory client and compelling startup operating within the rapidly expanding crowdfunding industry. PitFund will soon be launching their new crowdfunding platform specifically designed for both amateur racers and all of their supporting racing community participants – a pre-launch landing page can be viewed at The PitFund management team is currently in late stage stealth mode, working diligently to complete front and back end software development.

With a uniquely focused model and targeted user base, PitFund offers racers a seamless fundraising profile and campaign solution, one that allows U.S. based amateur racers and their supporting teams, tracks, venues and community participants to source and solicit online donations to directly help with financial backing; enabling their continued pursuit of checkered flags everywhere.

Developed to address the financial needs of the entire amateur racing universe at enormous scale, PitFund allows subscribers to directly connect with friends, family, fans and a supportive community through a dedicated platform and mobile app. PitFund enables profile pages to be created for any type of racing, anywhere in the U.S. and across any type of vehicle or class.

According to the Massolution / 2015 Crowdfunding Industry Report, the success and continued growth of crowdfunding is established and well proven. Over $31.4B worldwide was raised in 2015, with $17.2B from North America and $5.5B exclusively from the 2nd largest category which is “donation.” Mr. John B. Crawley, Partner at RPM Group Ltd. stated, “Given the industry’s growth, we are enthusiastic about PitFund’s specialized crowdfunding solution. Their technology can also be adapted to cover more underserved enthusiast based segments and therefore capture additional market share from other categories that crowdfunding leaders in the space are simply missing or are not focused on.”

All racers face the same problem, racing is very expensive. Few racers make a living without consistent practice and winning seasons that can lead to sponsorship dollars and or pro status compensation. Amateurs are driven to both race and improve, typically making lifestyle and financial sacrifices to support their passion. At all age levels, and across any type of racing – money is the biggest problem.

The PitFund platform provides subscribers with toolkits to be successful. Tools like crowdfunding best practices, enabling rich media like GoPro videos, race calendars and social media integration will all ensure successful engagement which will lead to continuous support. PitFund provides a new, uniquely dedicated and much needed funding source to millions of racers nationwide, as they race across every dirt, tarmac, road, water or snow based course in the United States.

“We are excited to have RPM Group Ltd. help us launch PitFund. Our mission is focused on helping people in and around racing.  One way we are helping is donating 1% back to the racing community in various ways.  Another is partnering with race industry organizations to offer PitFund as a key and free resource benefit to their members,” said Mr. Chris Muller, PitFund’s Co-Founder & CEO.

If you would like more details on PitFund or their current investment round and business model, please contact me directly at 

RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management, M&A advisory and capital introduction services to the industry.


July 2017

Client Update

We are pleased to announce that the two Founders of RPM Group Limited client, Chrome Strategies Management (CSM), will be traveling to South Africa shortly to take part in both the HAGI™ Value in the Classic Car Market Conference (VCCM), and the 2nd Annual Concours South Africa being held in parallel at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City. Both events will run from August 3rd through the 6th of 2017.

Mr. M. Peter Neumann, Co-Founder & CEO, will attend and Mr. Steve Linden, Co-Founder & CIO of CSM, will speak at the request of the HAGI™ VCCM Conference organizers. Steve will be presenting his views on the topic of “Collector Car Funds: An Investment Approach” and the Chrome team is looking forward to speaking and participating in these two events as the firm has recently launched a new Trust & Estate/Wealth Advisory service, in addition to its core private equity portfolio strategies within the growing asset class of collectible motorcars.

With the worldwide rise in hammer prices at top auction houses for outstanding examples, coupled with the compelling store of value, currency hedge, portfolio diversification and returns that vintage & collector cars can provide, the Founders are excited about engaging with an audience of thought leaders comprised of industry experts, collectors, and investors in this growing region.

“Classic & collector cars continue to experience exciting growth as an alternative asset class” stated Robert P. Minnick, CEO of RPM Group Limited, Mr. Minnick further added, “RPM Group is pleased to see our client Chrome Strategies Management now operating globally and we continue to work with them towards equally large industry and strategic opportunities.”

Additionally, with current trends of a weaker Rand in South Africa and growing allocations of offshore capital to tangible, hard asset based investments, plus the continuing interest in motorcars as an asset class, the timing of these two events is unique for South Africa. Add in the quality of the HAGI™ VCCM Conference speaker rooster across the financial and collector car verticals, plus corporate sponsors / speakers: Ned Bank CIB & Private Wealth Groups, Knight Frank and TCF SA; should all provide for the continued success of these two events.

Chrome Strategies Management
Chrome Strategies Management, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is a boutique advisory firm and private equity investment management company, one focused exclusively on a long and short term portfolio of vintage & collector cars. The firm was founded by Mr. M. Peter Neumann and Mr. Steve Linden in 2015, and was formed to provide HNW investors and Family Offices with advisory services and to enable investment access to the burgeoning alternative asset class of vintage & collector motorcars. For more information on CSM please click here.

RPM Group Limited
RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management, M&A advisory and capital introduction services to the industry. For more information on RPM Group Ltd. please click here.

HAGI™ & VCCM Conferences
Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI™) is an independent investment research firm with expertise in the rare classic motorcar sector and provides benchmarks to track this alternative asset class, using rigorous financial methodologies dating to 2007. The HAGI Index is published in Octane magazine and is referenced in:, WSJ and the Economist. HAGI’s conferences have been held since 2014 at The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, The Centre for Private Equity & Entrepreneurship and now will have global exposure in South Africa. For more information on HAGI / VCCM please click here and here.

Concours SA
Exclusive to South Africa, Concours SA’s 2nd annual continent gathering concours event will bring together the finest classic, luxury and sports cars from pre-war vintage to the modern era. This year will feature the Ferrari marque and it’s recent 70th anniversary. Concours entrants are judged on the quality of presentation, historical accuracy, technical merit and style—and the best garner reward and recognition. This Concours d’Elegance competition is limited to 150 vehicles and always attracts the entire country’s most significant car owners, collectors, investors and enthusiasts. For more information on Concours SA, please click here.

If you would like more info on Chrome Strategies Management, please contact me directly.


July 2017

Client Update

RPM Group Limited is pleased to announce a new advisory client, Garage Pointer – ( Garage Pointer is an online peer to peer marketplace service that matches unused storage space with owners in need of additional, safe, secure and conveniently located garage space. Targeted users include collector car owners as well as individuals seeking protected garages for storage of any kind on a short or long term rental basis.

For many, the desire for buying more cars or bikes is held back, not by insufficient funds or spousal approval, but by the lack of nearby garage space available to the buyer. There is a surplus of local and community-based residential garages that go completely unused in the United States, at the same time, there is a slowdown of new storage facilities being built. Garage Pointer seeks to leverage this imbalance via the online pairing of shelter-seeking vehicle owners with home and business owners who are interested in generating new, recurring income from their unused garages.

The Company is comprised of career automotive industry professionals, including Mr. Donald Osbourne, ASA, a respected collector car appraiser and segment host on CNBC’s primetime show Jay Leno’s Garage. The team envisions launching Garage Pointer as the “Airbnb” of garages through an innovative and easy to use mobile app, designed to provide enthusiast owners with instant access to surplus garage listings via a Google Maps like interface.

Garage Pointer has solved the initial insurance concern by successfully engaging with the HUB Group. Additionally their revenue model offers promise with a technology-based and fully automated solution. Garage Pointer has successfully raised their Seed Round and will be seeking new capital to help execute on their next stages of growth, which includes: the design, buildout and implementation of the mobile app for Android and Apple OS, website upgrades, IP filings and firm level marketing, advertising and social media strategy launches.

“Some might point out the security risk of giving a stranger access to your garage, but the notion of having strangers in your actual living space doesn’t seem to have hindered Airbnb.” – Car & Driver
“We are delighted to have Robert and the RPM Group Ltd. team help us in growing our venture and spreading the proverbial word on Garage Pointer to the industry,” said Mr. Dave Kinney, Head of New Market Development at Garage Pointer. If you would like more details on this compelling new company, please contact me directly at

RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management, M&A advisory and capital introduction services to the industry.

Enjoy your summer,

Q4 November 2016

Client Update

RPM Group Limited is pleased to announce a new advisory client, NYC based startup Rally Rd.™ Rally Road ( – is an online marketplace to invest in collector cars, the same way one would invest in equities, for as little as $20 per share. RPM Group Ltd. will be supporting the Founders in their efforts to raise additional strategic capital and execute a global public launch in early 2017.

Rally Rd.™ is a financial platform where collector cars are purchased and securitized, and investors are able to create a diversified portfolio of shares in blue-chip automotive assets. The company’s mission is to democratize collector car investment, ownership and enjoyment by providing access, liquidity and transparency to an alternative asset market that has traditionally been available only to a select few.

Rally Rd.™ is creating a new investment paradigm for the digital age by allowing users to browse content, analyze comparable asset performance, view provenance & ownership history, and chat with enthusiasts about investment-grade vehicles, all from one mobile app.

Users at all wealth levels can now access the market more efficiently by combining their passion & knowledge with data and expert opinions to drive intelligent investment decisions. Whether investing real money or taking “fantasy” portfolio positions, users can track their returns over time and or participate in building a unique collection of vintage & exotic cars.

If you would like more details on this compelling new startup company, please reach out directly to: If you would like “beta” access to an early version of the platform (iPhone), you can follow these instructions: Visit the “App Store” on your iPhone, search for “Rally Rd.™” download the Rally Rd.™ app and use the access code: rpmgroup

RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management, M&A advisory and capital introduction services to the industry.

Enjoy the holidays,

Q4 December 2016

Client Update

RPM Group Limited is pleased to announce a new advisory client, The Palm Beach Car Club and their quintessential Palm Event – ( The Palm Event is a uniquely themed vintage automobile concours and lifestyle event benefiting children’s charities of Palm Beach. This marks the third year of the most significant and unique collection of European Sports & GT cars ever assembled in Palm Beach. The popular three day event pays homage to and celebrates vintage automobiles and a bygone “Kennedy – era” style when design & vision mattered. This year’s location is the stunning PGA National Resort & Spa.

The event is known for a fantastic selection of cars and also for it’s lifestyle, fashion and culinary components, not to mention the event’s 2017 beneficiary will be Wheels for Kids, Inc., a Palm Beach based 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Vintage and historically significant racing and sports cars from the 1920’s – 1970’s will be on display: Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley, Maserati, Lotus, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo and others. Cars with a racing pedigree and documented participation at Monte Carlo, Le Mans, Targa Florio Rally, Daytona and Goodwood will also be shown.

“We are delighted to have Robert and the RPM Group Ltd. team assist in securing new corporate level sponsorships for The Palm Event given RPM’s deep industry and client networking channels,” said Kevin Ream, Executive Producer of The Palm Event. “For our 2017 return, we are looking to capitalize on the significant growth momentum and popularity by capturing new sponsors and also being able to write larger checks to area charities by growing our attendance each year.”

“We look forward to working with Kevin on increasing The Palm Event’s brand through sponsorships; it’s a highly worthy event and cause, plus the demographic for attendees and current sponsors are without equal. I have personally attended all of the events and had a great experience, it’s definitely becoming a required enthusiast and Palm Beach social event.” John Johnston, Partner at RPM Group Ltd. added.

The Palm Event celebrates fine motorcars through an all-inclusive weekend of events, including a welcome party, vintage rally & tour of Palm Beach and a world-class historic display of cars, all while featuring gourmet food pavilions and fine wines. The event brings together the most intriguing enthusiasts and car clubs to interact in the most historic settings in the Palm Beach area. For more information on corporate level sponsorship opportunities for the event, please contact

RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management, M&A advisory and capital introduction services to the industry.

Enjoy the holidays,

Q4 December 2016

Client Update

RPM Group Limited is pleased to announce a new advisory client, the new startup company throtl – ( Based in San Diego, California, throtl believes the process of buying and selling enthusiast built, pre-owned cars, and the high end aftermarket parts utilized on these builds, should be much easier, less time consuming, and more affordable. throtl’s unique and totally new search engine and C2C marketplace offers an innovative, modern and secure solution to the struggles experienced by auto enthusiasts looking to buy and sell second hand.

The startups targeted end users, unlike the average consumer, are highly knowledgeable enthusiasts who know the quality and value of the modified cars they have to sell and or the high end aftermarket parts they want to buy. With a new buy / sell marketplace and search engine aimed primarily at this millennial + enthusiast demographic, this team has the goal of utilizing the latest tech to offer easy and direct online access to the best pre-owned marque cars and most desirable aftermarket parts.

throtl has reach, as it searches 200+ enthusiast sources and delivers results in a new, and ultra-modern platform. Built mobile first, it is easy to navigate on any device or PC, and posting a new listing couldn’t be quicker or easier. The user experience is both customizable and Social Media connected. The platform is secure, requiring Facebook / Google account verification and a built in user rating system keeps buyers and sellers in check. throtl’s compelling fee structure gives users a flexible way to sell. Searching for or selling a specially modified car or top tier aftermarket part, in pre-owned condition, can be difficult and all enthusiasts have felt the struggles: time searching across multiple sites (eBay motors, Craigslist, and the hundreds of online web forums), cost (high listing and transaction fees), ad exposure (finding the unique buyer / seller audience) and the actual integrity of seller and buyer all come into play. throtl looks to out brake and accelerate around the current, common auto & auto parts marketplaces by catering specifically to the needs of diehard gearheads. See video here

RPM Group Ltd. has been impressed with throtl, as they have already raised early seed capital twice and have exceeded their beta launch traffic metrics and first few milestone goals. “We are excited to have Robert and RPM Group Ltd. provide us with advisory services during our earliest stages of growth, plus Robert’s startup business knowledge is very impressive,” stated Rick Beckerman, Co-Founder of throtl. “We are looking forward to the working relationship.”

“We choose our startup level clients quite carefully, and I am looking forward to working with Rick and his team at throtl given their business model and the ever growing enthusiast vertical.” Robert Minnick, Founder & CEO of RPM Group Ltd. added.

RPM Group Limited was founded in 2009 as a boutique advisory and management consultancy firm using its unparalleled knowledge of the automotive industry to offer highly specialized consulting services to auto enthusiast related businesses. RPM Group Ltd. is recognized as a leading consultancy firm for business advisory, strategic business development, management consultancy, sales & marketing, project management, M&A advisory and capital introduction services to the industry.

Enjoy the holidays,

September 2012

The Scion Road to SEMA, powered by Car Guy Nation

On October 20th we’re kicking off our first Car Guy Nation seriously awesome road trip, aka “The Scion Road to SEMA — powered by Car Guy Nation.” The project build and the journey to Las Vegas are so compelling, the folks at Scion decided to become the Title Sponsor. And who are we to refuse?

Here’s the big picture: Back in April, while having a couple of beers with our good friend Steve Jardine of Johnstons Toyota/Scion in New Hampton, NY (don’t worry, nobody knows where New Hampton is), we decided to build a SEMA project car out of the all-new Scion FR-S. But, we wanted to do something a bit different from the normal SEMA build. Our modified car needed to be drivable and reliable. Plus, we wanted to be able to show it off to car guys across the country, not just to the privileged industry folks in Las Vegas. So, the idea of driving the car to Vegas came about. Allan and I volunteered since we both believe in the old adage, “why fly when you can drive?”

Evil scientists: Steve, Allan and Roger in the operating room.

Steve, being the good-natured generous guy that he is, offered to supply the car and the labor if we could get the parts. So, Allan took to the phones and started talking to our vendors. The response was pretty overwhelming. Practically everyone wanted to participate. We’ll be exploring the individual parts and upgrades in upcoming posts, but let’s just say, we’re pretty excited after a brief track shake-down at Monticello Motor Club.

Come see the car! If you live in the Northeast, you’ll want to be at Johnstons Toyota/Scion for the launch party on the 20th as we prepare for the journey to Las Vegas. Considering it’s a 2600 mile trip, you might want to bring us a can or two of Red Bull. Or some Beano…

Stay tuned…
Roger Garbow

September 2012

Battle in the hills

Lime Rock Park in Northwestern CT is one of North America’s most beautiful and historic road courses. The greatest names in racing history have left their marks on this 1.53 mile, seven turn natural terrain circuit. And, it happens to be our home track. While GRAND-AM weekend is always a big deal at Lime Rock, this year it has been moved from its traditional Memorial Day slot to September 28-29 as Lime Rock will host the GRAND-AM season-finale. And the best news? We have tickets at a reduced price for Car Guy Nation members.

This is going to be a big weekend. In the ultra-competitive GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, which consists of Daytona Prototypes, Grand Touring cars and the action-packed Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series, no less than 11 season championships will be decided.

In Rolex Sports Car, the DP Driver, Team, Engine and Chassis titles are all up for grabs. In GT, the Manufacturer championship is still being fought for. In the Continental Tire Sports Car Series, the Driver, Team and Manufacturer points chases are all wide open in both the GS and ST divisions.

The GRAND-AM Championship Weekend at Lime Rock Park presented by BMW will include three championship races. The 2.5-hour Continental Tire Challenge Street Tuner race will take the green flag at 3:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28th. The 2.5 hour Grand Sport race will start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29th. The 2.75-hour Rolex Sports Car Series race will start at 3:00 p.m. and be televised live on SPEED television.

If you’ve never been to Lime Rock or even if you are a track regular, you don’t want to miss this weekend. It promises to be the most action-packed GRAND-AM race of the season! Plus, you can see the Car Guy Nation Road To SEMA project FR-S in person! It will be on display both days. To get your Lime Rock Park GRAND-AM tickets, go to:

September 2012

Ain’t no snowdrift high enough…

I was born and grew up in Buffalo, NY. Nationally, Buffalo is famous for two things – chicken wings and snow. I have no interest in chicken parts, but I can relate to snow and how to drive in the stuff. One way is to eat vast amounts of chicken wings, throw sand bags into a trunk, and invite three to five of your largest chicken fried friends to ride with you. Then find what was often called “Winter Beater” and mount some chains on the rear tires. These 100,000++ mile clunkers looked and sounded like wild animals with rust spots, strange noises and mysterious stains in the interior – but got you to your destination. I had several of these beaters as a young man, most notably an American Motors pink and grey Rambler station wagon.

Late in 1972, as the snow started to fall, I realized that I had to gear up for the upcoming winter roads. An American beater wasn’t going to work parked next to the Ferrari Daytona. So I went out to buy the big Ferrari a little brother to reside next to the Italian flag I had up in the garage.

I found what I thought to be the perfect car: a 1973 Fiat (Fix It Again Tony) 128 Coupe. This buzz bomb was one of the first so-called “Hot Hatches.” It had a 1290 cc SOHC transverse-mounted engine, front wheel drive, and of course, a hatch back. Because of the front wheel drive and the weight of the motor over the wheels, it was almost unstoppable in the snow – almost. For anyone who has experienced one of Buffalo’s famous winter storms, you might recall some of these words and phrases: “lake effect,” “drifts,” and my personal favorite, “white outs.” On numerous occasions I would experience a whiteout and blindly drive into drifts. Sometimes I would have to climb out of the side windows because the snow drifts were so high. It turned out the little Fiat was not the answer. With the Daytona, I had the ultimate “road” car, but I needed to find the ultimate winter-mobile. Next winter I would be ready.

My 1973 Toyota Land Cruiser (aka the “Green Meanie”) was one of the first of its kind east of the Rocky Mountains. I replaced the stock wheels with four white Jackmans, and got me some serious rock climbing tires. To help shed some light on the situation, we mounted some large HELLA fog lamps and replaced the stock headlamps.

“Ain’t no drift high enough, ain’t no drift that’s going to keep me away… (ain’t no mountain high enough lyrics reference?).” Suffice it to say, Buffalo snow had met its match. That reminds me of another story; the day Dan and I picked up Ed and Ted Nakamichi at the airport in the Green Meanie. We’re post that at another time.

September 2012

The “Vendor Bender”

Allan Greenfield is the Car Guy Nation National Sales Manager, or as we refer to him, the Chief Vendor Bender. We call him that because he’s the guy who beats up our vendors in order to get Car Guy Nation members the best prices on stuff they need to fuel their automotive lifestyle.

Allan listens intently to a new vendor before going in for the kill.

Allan is no newcomer to the auto aftermarket. A life-long car guy, he spent his early professional years working in the Northern California tuner industry, eventually heading south and landing a job with the renowned Claus Ettensberger’s CEC in sunny LA. After spending time in the heart of car culture, Allan moved back to NJ where he would go on to sell Porsches at a top dealership and eventually moving to Lamborghini, running day-to-day operations for one of the brand’s few stand-alone stores. Having grown up with a Countach poster over his bed, this was truly a dream come true.

Today, Allan and his dedicated team of associate vender benders are scouring the globe (the one in our office is getting really shiny) to find the coolest new products, and best deals for our members. Looking for a vintage Daytona poster or a carbon fiber cigar case? Allan’s your man. Need some wheels to give your ride that finishing touch? Ask Allan. Being a watch guy, he’s also working on bringing some serious pre-owned timepieces to our members, so keep an eye out for that.

To Allan, Car Guy Nation epitomizes the automotive lifestyle. But what exactly is that? “Everyone has their own take on it. One person’s automotive lifestyle may be attending a Jeep Jamboree with his Wrangler, while another may be outfitting his garage or man cave with automotive artwork or posters or tile flooring,” says Allan.

Each car guy’s automotive lifestyle is unique and different, and Allan is tasked with coming up with a mix of products or services that is going to appeal to these various automotive tastes.

Each week, Allan oversees the next week’s featured picks to bring the nation an interesting (some would say bizarre) mix of cool car guy stuff. You never know what’s going to pop up.

Allan posing for a photo with one of his fans at the 2012 NY Auto Show

Allan’s experience in the new car business and passion for all things automotive gives him the ability to negotiate with the best, yet still keep a smile. And his depth of knowledge in the auto aftermarket keeps the rest of us on our toes. He’s like an aftermarket savant.

While Allan has a thing for Italians (his wife, food and of course, cars), his daily driver is German.

September 2012

BBC – Bentley Bar Car

In 1974 I purchased a 1956 Bentley S1 Saloon for $6000 from Anderson Auctions. It was dove grey with grey hides, a wood dash and two veneered tray tables mounted to the back of each front seat.

I was going through my trying to be like Paul McCartney period (I also acquired two English Sheep Dogs inappropriately named Enzo and Dino) and the Bentley joined the Minnick stable.

I bought the car without driving it which proved to be my first mistake. Not only was it slow (0-60 in a day and a half), but it handled like a whale out of water and it leaked oil like a Harley. It sat in my garage like King George staring at my other cars collecting dust.

It took one of my more enterprising friends to discover its true purpose. One day we were out in the garage talking cars when my friend Mike, got into the back seat of George, pulled down the tray tables and placed his gin and tonic on the table. He then proclaimed, “It’s a Bentley bar car! The BBC!” We all chimed in… “The BBC will hit the streets as our bar hopper car of choice.”

Long before the term, “designated driver” came into vogue, (remember this is 1974) we would appoint one of us as the “driver” for the night – usually with a striped hat, shorts and a bow tie – while the other three passengers would have cocktails on their trays as we drove from bar to bar. We always had to make an entrance. Before long, the BBC was a Buffalo institution. Sadly, like all things British, it consumed my wallet with all too frequent repairs and it was sold.

September 2012

Track it

As serious car guys, we like to surround ourselves with the things that speak to the automotive lifestyle. Posters, apparel, collectibles and gadgets. Most of the stuff I have is tied to an experience I enjoyed or a marque that I love. If you are a track junkie like me, you might have photos or videos from tracks you drove, tracks you long to drive, or amazing races you’ve seen.

Since most circuits don’t encourage hacking out chunks of painted curbing or removing permanent signage, it’s been hard to have anything really dimensional to display in your home or office to remind you of a specific track.

But now you can! This week Car Guy Nation is featuring Linear Edge wall sculptures of eight unique tracks.

For me, it’s a tough choice: There is Road America, which I rode my bicycle around as part of the Tour de Road America a few years ago during the ALMS weekend. It’s a beautiful track and just over 4 miles long, but on a bike, and with the elevation change, it feels like a lot more.

Road America: Four miles of legendary racing excitement right on your wall!

Or the Nürburgring to commemorate my trip there last year for the 2011 ADAC 24h Rennen Nürburgring. I ran across the track during the race – and lived to tell about it – so I feel a special connection to that place. But that’s a story for another time.

You don’t need to be an art snob to appreciate how much class one of these sculptures will bring to your home, office or even garage. Heck, your better half might even think you’ve gone and gotten yourself some culture!

Seriously, these birch laminate wooden wall hangings look a heck of a lot better than that used race tire coffee table.

September 2012

Michael Alan Ross – Capturing the speed of life

Beauty on the flats…

Most automotive photographers strive to get perfect lighting on their subject, with the car being the main focus of the image. Car Guy Nation member Michael Alan Ross thinks of cars a bit differently. More like a painter looking at a barn on a hill. How does the barn fit and compliment the surrounding landscape? What features and details make the car unique? Michael’s images transcend the subject matter and become more of a beautiful composition — automotive fine art.

Michael grew up in the sixties in Northern California, in the center of car culture. When he turned nine, his father gave him two gifts that would change his life: a guitar and a camera. Michael took to both with surprising skill, practicing the guitar while honing his photography skills at California car shows. Considering his mother was a painter, it was soon clear he inherited her creativity and eye for composition. In 1970 at age 14, he experienced a major culture shock when he moved to New Jersey. His 501 Levis jeans, cowboy boots, and white t-shirt made him stand out from his teenage peers, while the cars themselves were just as foreign. The “channeled” and highly modified East Coast hot rod scene was very different from the tweaked “highboys” of California.

Through high school and beyond, Michael was shooting cars for fun and playing guitar for a living. While his photography business and reputation grew throughout the ensuing years, including doing work for Porsche, he was still shooting mostly high-line exotics, sports, and collector cars. In 2007, Michael experienced a major epiphany when he traveled to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah for SpeedWeeks. After watching the Anthony Hopkins film, “The World’s Fastest Indian,” and meeting a current day land speed competitor, Michael knew he had to see the Flats and the racers in person. That first trip opened up a whole new world of automobiles to him and as Michael freely admits, “changed everything.” His images from Bonneville are hauntingly beautiful and appeal to a much wider audience than the typical enthusiast crowd. They transcend the auto into the realm of fine art.

Today, living back in Northern California in the home he shares with his wife Danielle, Michael’s Hollywood good looks and easy-going manner are just as memorable as his photography, and make him a favorite of car owners and manufacturers alike. While Bonneville is now a staple on his calendar every August, he can still be found at major sports car races and concours events.

Michael recently finished up the photography for a fantastic new book. “Rockin’ Garages” showcases top musicians, their cars, and their garages. Authors Tom Cotter and Ken Gross profile each musician, revealing the story behind their moto-lust and what drives their car collecting. And each profile features Michael’s top-notch photography. Working on the book brought together Michael’s two passions. The subjects include J. Geils, Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford, AC/DC front man Brian Johnson, and Long Island’s own Billy Joel. The featured photo of piano man Joel with one of his many motorcycles is stunning — gritty and beautiful at the same time. As Michael says, “the cars are unique, but so are the people. I’ve met some amazing folks and have had some incredible experiences. But the possibilities are endless. Every day and every car are different. That’s the cool thing about cars.”

Rockin’ Garages will be available at on October 19th, just in time for the holidays. You can get it by clicking here. To check out more of Michael’s work, go to:

Roger Garbow

September 2012

Most people dismiss what they don’t understand.

Or worse they simply reject it. As a serial entrepreneur, you get used to rejection and people dismissing your wild and crazy ideas. Over time you begin to accept it and not let it affect your judgment. You develop a thick skin and rely on your own experiences – not what someone told you or the prevailing conventional wisdom – to guide you. When your new business works, you’re called a genius, but until that time you’re just some nut job with some half-baked crazy ideas. You just annoy them when you keep bringing it up – “What’s WRONG with the way we’re doing it?”

I’m annoying some people right now when I talk to them about Car Guy Nation, but it doesn’t bother me.

I have done my fair share of dismissing people and new ideas. I will always remember the day back in the 70’s at my stereo store, when three serious looking dudes walk in, two wearing dark suits. The skinny guy wearing jeans (very radial at the time) was carrying an ugly pale tan box with a small TV screen and a keyboard in front. They referred to it as a “personal computer.” “Ok,” I replied, “what does this personal computer do and why would anyone want it? Besides, it’s seriously ugly…” They told me it could store lists, like recipe lists, and that they were exploring where to sell their “list–storer”. The personal list-storer computer was a new category of electronic products and they had no channel of distribution to sell them. At the stereo store, we basically sold sexy black boxes that plugged into the wall and made you smile/ helped you meet females.

The Apple II computer did none of those things, so we told them to hit the road. As they were walking out, the skinny guy asked if that was my Black 450SL parked in front of the store. He was a car guy and wanted to sit in it to hear the prototype of the first Nakamichi/ADS car audio sound system. Me, the super sales guy I am, got in and gave him a killer demo and asked for his card to ship him his system. He had a BMW back in San Francisco at the time.

Well, he gave me his card, which of course I no longer have, but I do remember his unusual name. It was Jobs.

I sometimes wonder, if I didn’t dismiss Steve how my life would be different. It took me over 20 years to start using a computer. My current one is an iMac… with the default browser window set to

Thanks, Steve.

August 2012

Paul Newman’s wagons

Most auto enthusiasts know about ultimate car guy Paul Newman’s hopped-up Volvo wagons. His first was a 740 GLE powered by a Buick Grand National Turbo V-6. It was fast, but the 245HP wasn’t quite enough for Paul. Next up was a gray 960 with Supercharged Ford V-8. One afternoon at Compo Beach Marina in Westport, CT he showed me the car. Parked amongst the stock suburban family cars, it stood out only if you looked close. It was lowered, had beefier brakes and aftermarket wheels. It really was the perfect sleeper: 400 HP and room for the family, the dog, and numerous cases of beer. Personally, I’ve always loved wagons for their look and utility. But seldom for their performance. Paul got that, too.

In March 1993, the April Car And Driver arrived in my mailbox with what I thought to be the coolest and most practical suburban dad car ever: A Ford Taurus SHO Wagon!

The folks at CD worked with Ford engineers to build the one-off car which featured SHO bodywork, interior, wheels and drivetrain. Since my wife was driving a Taurus wagon at the time, I was even more intrigued. This was not the first Frankenstein creation from the folks at CD. And like they had done with their 1983 280ZX powered Maxima, they presented the SHO Wagon to Paul Newman. They knew he would appreciate it, but not surprisingly, so did Mrs. Newman, the lovely and talented Joanne Woodward.

One day while driving down the Post Road, I saw the car parked at a gas station pump. I made a quick dive into the station and spent the next 10 minutes chatting with Joanne about the car and how much she enjoyed it. I felt a bit bad that I was more interested in the car than her, but I don’t think it bothered her one bit. When I offered to buy it, she quickly and politely declined. It turns out, she’s a car guy, too and knew a good thing when she had it.

Roger Garbow

August 2012

Robert’s origins…

This is where you’ll find various ramblings, historical oddities, lost (car) loves and general mind dumping from the Car Guy Nation founder and fearless leader, Robert P. Minnick.

Robert with the lovely Mrs. M. She could drive his new 911… if he would ever give up the keys.

Notice how his initials are RPM? Coincidence? We think not. There are those who believe Robert was the result of an experiment gone horribly wrong. Here’s the story: A few decades ago, a reclusive scientist was working in a remote lab on a machine that could merge machinery with human cells. His original plan was to create an autonomous tractor which could harvest vast fields without any human control. Unfortunately, when the time came to test his device, the scientist’s John Deere tractor had been driven into a pond by his drunken neighbor. So he had to substitute another machine. And the only other vehicle he owned was a Mercedes-Benz SSK. Needless to say, the resulting organism cared little for plowing fields and once released from the lab, he was gone…

Is the story true? Who knows. But we wouldn’t doubt if testing found a little SSK in his DNA…

August 2012

Cop for a day

Police officers like cars, too! Especially ones with 365HP.

When I was a kid, cop cars were fearsome. They had big engines and big chrome bumpers. Like most car guys I know, I always thought it would be cool to have a cop car like Jake and Elwood’s Dodge or a Ford with the 428 Police Interceptor engine.

But over the last three decades, police cars from the big three have lost their appeal, at least for me. Sure, there have been a few exceptions such as the Ford Mustang 5.0 and the Chevy Camaro with the LT1. But these were low volume vehicles. The mass volume of police cars in use by state and local law enforcement across the US have been flaccid-handling Ford Crown Vics or FWD Chevy Impalas.

In 2012, police departments are faced with some new choices. With production of the Crown Vic finally over after 15 years, Ford has introduced an all-new line of vehicles based upon the Taurus and Explorer. Ford recently handed me the keys to the top dog, the 365 HP twin-turbocharged 3.5 liter EcoBoost V-6 powered Interceptor Sedan. Yes, you read that right — twin-turbo. Not only is the turbo engine a major departure for a police car, the Interceptor also features AWD.

The vehicle — including the drivetrain — is based upon the Taurus SHO, with just about everything in the car beefed up for police use (and abuse.) The brakes feature 60% more swept area than the SHO’s binders while the suspension is designed for “improved handling during pursuits.”

Is it any good?

If you had a police car for a day, what would you do? With the promise of this much performance, I took the Interceptor to NY’s Monticello Motor Club to fully explore the vehicle’s capabilities. Unlike my previous police car experiences, this time I was in the front. Unlike the SHO, the interior features a column shifter since Ford needed to free up the center console area for the mounting of “cop stuff.” And, the seats are less bolstered than in the SHO to make it easier for ingress and egress of officers with gun belts and donut-filled bellies. But, they were still fairly supportive and comfortable. In another departure from the SHO, the front seat backs are also “stab proof.”

On the track, the acceleration was really impressive with 0-60 arriving in about 5.5 seconds. In a drag race on the MMC north straight against a Scion FR-S, the Ford easily won. The AWD system makes quick launches easy and drama-free.

How often have you wanted to say this to a cop: “Wanna run it?”

I then attacked Monticello’s 1.9 mile, 10-turn North Course where I was immediately impressed with the lack of body roll and the overall balance of the car. And the brakes were really good, hauling the two-ton plus car down quickly for the switchback. As I began pushing harder, the stability control was kicking in. So, I ducked back into the pits to turn it off. No dice. There was no button or switch to be found. Apparently, Ford wanted to make the car “cop proof,” meaning the stability control can’t be defeated.

Back on track I adapted to the electronics and anticipated their intrusion. I could still get the tail out a bit with the right combination of throttle and steering inputs. Outfitted with Goodyear Eagle A/S tires, the ultimate grip was somewhat limiting, but the car was still entertaining to drive and surprisingly nimble. It would be cool to see what the car would do with some more aggressive summer tires. Even so, I was driving a cop car on a racetrack and having a blast doing it. I even turned on the full barrage of lights to harass a few track junkies in their Lotuses and Radicals. Apparently, I thought it was funnier than they did.

At the end of the day, I needed to run into town to get some gas in the Interceptor. I was about to get pissed at the idiot in front of me doing 25 in a 30MPH zone… and then I realized why. He had a cop car behind him. Doh! I was tempted to hit the lights and siren, but I was really not interested in sampling the back seat of the local PD’s Crown Vics.

As the light faded, I parked the Interceptor, and I came to a sudden realization: We’ve come full circle. This is a cop car I would actually like to own. But I’ll have to wait since only law enforcement organizations can purchase the Interceptor. I think I’ll be checking the fleet auctions in a couple of years…

Roger Garbow

I’m not really a cop. I only played one for this post.

June 2012

Minnick’s Ferrari resurfaces …on TV!

Chasing Classic Cars on the Daytona…

Car Guy Nation founder Robert Minnick was not your normal 22-year old. As a teen, Robert founded a retail stereo business in his parent’s basement. By the time he finished college, Robert had a wildly successful hi-fi store in downtown Buffalo, NY serving discerning audiophiles from across the Eastern US. His face was plastered on billboards across the area and his memorable radio ads made him a local celebrity.

In addition to the fame came financial success which afforded Robert the means to acquire something most young car guys only dream about — he was able to buy one of the most coveted sportscar in the world: a Ferrari Daytona. Robert’s Silver 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB4 became nearly as famous as its owner as the stunning lines and 12-cylinder exhaust note drew the attention of the locals and the police, of course.

Robert kept the Daytona for three years and then moved on to less sexy but more reliable Porsches —including a 930 Turbo, but that’s another story — and other marques. Over the ensuing decades (and three more businesses), Robert never forgot the Daytona, but hadn’t given it much thought recently. Until he saw the results of the March Gooding & Co. Auction in Amelia Island, FL.

Apparently the Daytona ended up in the hands of our friend Wayne Carini, owner of F40 Motorsports in Portland, CT and the star of the Velocity Channel’s Chasing Classic Cars. Wayne had taken the car in for a client to sell. Amelia Island was a great fit for the beautiful Daytona, as it had less than 40K on the odometer. The final selling price with buyer’s premium? $330K.

So, was Robert sentimental to see the Ferrari changing hands again? A bit. But probably more so over the price, since he had sold it for $36K back in 1975. Ouch.

June 2012

Robert runs into the Daytona…

Ten years after he sold it, Robert saw the silver Italian in New Jersey at a car gathering. Do we detect some remorse behind those shades?

June 2012

Yellow fever!

Which would you choose? Murcielago or Gallardo Spyder?

June 2012

Car Guy Nation Exotic Car Track Day

The line-up – due to track requirements, we had to “pop” the roll hoops /bars/struts on the convertibles for safety.

June 2012

Car Guy Nation staffers hit 160MPH, and don’t get arrested!

…because we were driving at Monticello Motor Club. This private race track and automotive resort is only 90 minutes from Manhattan, yet a world apart from the cabs and congestion. It features a 3.6 mile, 18 turn road coarse that Mario Andretti calls “challenging.”

Anyway, we held our first member-only track day with Signature Car Collection, who brought their fleet of exotics up to the track. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, etc. The tires and brakes were tortured, but the drivers had a blast.

Since we wanted to get some video of the cars on track, we needed a fitting camera car. How about a 2011 Z06 Corvette, still wearing its Gumball 3000 livery? Perfect.

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